The air is thick in the heat of a July afternoon. Acres and acres of rice field, squares, rectangles, swelter below as the sun glints into the eyes of the brahmini eagle soaring overhead, climbing higher and higher on hot circles of humid air, the heat opening spaces in the thick air for invisible water vapor rising from hundreds of ponds and rivers and paddy fields that dot the dark green landscape. A moorhen calls intermittently from shadows of the jute field, by the clumps of lantana brush that line the thatched huts along one edge of the rice fields, marking time like a muffled grandfather clock, here, here, now, now, lulls the rice fields into a somnolent haze.
At this hour, further south, summer heat drives into the sky more moisture-laden air from the brightly lit Bay of Bengal; and up north, the dry air from the Himalayan foothills, dusty and hot, sweeps down the Gangetic plains. The three air masses meet over the Bengal delta in the late afternoon, as the rows of farmhands swiftly gather bunches of delicate green rice saplings from the wet loam and replant them in knee-deep water, to outgrow the weeds, to draw nourishment left over by slimy filaments of anabaena, to dance in peristaltic waves in a distant October breeze—golden dreams on an acre of land—a new piece of fabric for the tiller’s child to dance with the drums. In rhythmic repose, the farmhands swing from right to left, lifting a bunch of saplings then replanting them with deft hands into the water, one, two, three…the sun beating down on their dark skin, sweat rolls down their bent backs.
As the three air masses collide high above their rice fields, massive piles of cumulonimbus roll forth, brilliant white with little dark interiors; they begin to rise rapidly, billowing in the wind, the eagle now a black dot against their bright forms; they reach higher and higher into the stratosphere, an anvil forming on their upper reaches, the cold rarefied air of the upper atmosphere squeezes the moisture out of the white cloud, billions of tiny dust particles begin to provide the surfaces on which moisture from the ponds, the bay, the rice fields, condenses, each a scherazade’s teardrop, the Precambrian dust of the high plateaus surrounded by dolphin’s breath and santhal women’s sweat, increasing in size from nanoliter to microliter as they rapidly succumb to gravity’s pull, forming fast moving dark puffs, move in layers at the tail end of a cooling breeze that now begins to flow over the rice fields, first slowly then rapidly, the sun is now obliterated by the dark forms, ominous, edged with menacing lightening that arcs across the western sky. Thunder rolls. The farmhands raise their bent backs to search the horizon; the cool air descends fast creating rapidly advancing pressure waves, the heads of the coconut palms begin to sway in unison, first gently then swiftly along the horizon’s edge, the ripple reaches the jute fields, the water on the pond begins to dance, the waves of wind stalls on the left as they move to the right, then again the left sways while the right stalls, a flock of white egrets disperses formation against the shear wind, the lean cow, in antelopean fear, its tail held erect, gallops over the bewildered dog.
And then the rain. The hard beating rain. The warm rain that pours forth from the darkened sky, that gushes in torrents. The farmhands take refuge under the mango tree and the rain drums down, the horizon obliterated by the mist of water vapor. The cow, dogs, goats, men and women, ghostly in the mist, soaked to their bones, shiver under the tree while the rain makes the dream of the rice fields come true.
Critiques | Translate
delnaja (2054) 2007-09-05 10:26
I like your title... makes me imagine something, a kind of story... I didn't read your note yet, later... end of the day and my brain doesn't perfectly ; )
a superb result, very moody.
polter (7239) 2007-09-05 10:55
Very poetic and impressionistic vision. I do like composition and delicate grey tones. One can't be sure of significance of shapes and lines... a gate open to imagination.
syd1946 (18663) 2007-09-05 11:18
What a can I say for this one Animesh!So poetic, so moody and so unique made me to read your note...
Thanks for this presentation...for this sensitive work...
prantik (1136) 2007-09-05 11:28
I second what Peter (Homerhomer) once wrote as a comment on one of your earlier pictures "dude, you should be a writer". Peter also coined the word "Photopoetry" regarding one of Luko's pictures ("conical hats off.."). You, Luko and Francis are three exemplary artists when it comes to "photopoetry".
bombilla (3406) 2007-09-05 11:37
All earth's elements swirled through light. Like the birth of the world, the origins of sight. Magnificent one. -Hugh
michiels (4170) 2007-09-05 12:50
i like the high grain, the mystery, the b&w ... very beautiful and original photo !
thea0211 (1365) 2007-09-05 13:35
amazing one, animesh!
i can physically feel the rain and the wind around me, in my bones, on my cheeks
so little and yet so much to see here ... and by all means ... photopoetry it is :) ... any other word is simply not enough
just love it - thank you,
PierreMorel (1172) 2007-09-05 14:09
Awesome image!!! Composition and atmosphere give this shot a very impressive look, like a painting.
SamB (1948) 2007-09-05 14:33
That's one of the moodiest pictures that i've ever seen, and the wonderful note gives it much more significance. Great work on this very poetic piece.
Brian (3) 2007-09-05 16:54
Not only are you a great photographer, you're also a poet and meteorologist! Awesome dreamy wet photo, with a great, great story to go with it. Not a note, but a story.
Furachan (0) 2007-09-05 21:46
It keeps getting better and better - I don't think I've seen a photo more suggestive of the monsoon and its fulsomeness than this, Animesh.
A daring shot: half the frame is dark (at least on my sad monitor at work), everything is furtive and barely distinguishible, yet it is all the more eloquent for that.
Brilliant work and a superior, literary note.
sidstakes (772) 2007-09-05 22:29
it's only from you that i would expect such images Animesh, you always dare to experiment and set new standards ...you let your heart take course and that's what i like about your photography....
avishek_khan (544) 2007-09-05 22:46
ktanska (25357) 2007-09-06 1:37
Ultimate monsoon shot. Everything blurs. Still one can imagine the power of wind of those tree branches. Vignetting suits fine. Reminds one shot of mine with snow.
ALSOM (6616) 2007-09-06 3:06
Very nicely composed, it reminds me one of my shot when leaving Goa "It's over" also at raining time. Of course I like the mood here. At the first sight the bottom & fuzzy part seems to take to much in the compo and actually it gives redner quite well the human's eyes, a wet & touching eye glancing the rainy landscape with lot of inside emotions ..
chc (1468) 2007-09-07 4:10
A poetic vision of the rain. I like the grey scale and the tree forms that we can only guess. Well done
Galeota (10338) 2007-09-07 12:32
And I had to arrive here, a bit like walking backwards to the future, crescendo to step triumphantly into death, and looking at the past with the arrogance of those who have no regrets to nourish. My words may seem confuse to understand, but they reflect in a certain way how I feel reading your note and letting my conscience fade away in your image. This is an absolute favorite. Such a poetic beauty leaves me speechless.
- Copyright: Animesh Ray (AnimeshRay) (9089)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Black & White
- Date Taken: 2007-07-26
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Leica M6, Summicron 50mm/f2.0, Kodak TRI-X 400
- Exposure: f/2
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Sasa's Favourites, 200-300, Monsoon, My summer in India, My Stylesheet [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2007-09-05 9:53
- Favorites: 4 [view]